A form of social media networking that fascinates me, but I just do not have time to delve into is social networking through the use of avatars. Such networks are 2nd Life, Sims, and on line games like World of Warcraft. Instead of just talking and watching words scroll across your screen, you can create a virtual look alike, or in most cases not look alike, to walk around and do things. I believe this will become more and more popular as virtual reality becomes more realistic.
Today’s social media networking is a lot simpler than it used to be and far more reaching. E-mail is of course still around and has its uses, but fifteen or so years ago e-mail was a big social networking tool. It did connect a lot of people over long distances, but you needed to know them first and have their e-mail address. E-mails were and still are delivered at the speed of light, but compared to today’s social media, e-mails are incredibly slow. The one that used to scare me were chat rooms. Those things moved lightning fast! I’d try to respond to someone’s comment and the conversation had already changed five times. The other scary part about chat rooms was ending up in the wrong ones. No matter how innocent the title of the chat room, a lot of them were hook ups for people. I go into a room to talk about my favorite anime and the conversations quickly change to…well…Never mind. Let’s just keep this family oriented.
I think one of the biggest differences of the old school networking and today’s versions is the amount of privacy. With e-mail and chat rooms you were able to control the size of group and type of people you wanted to talk with. Today’s social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, you put something on there and everyone in the world can see it. This has gotten a lot of people in a lot of trouble. There are countless stars, athletes, and politicians that have ruined their careers from something they have shared with the world. There are people who have lost their jobs because of the weekend party pictures and rants about their bosses on Facebook and Twitter.
So, why are people sucked into social media networks? I really cannot speak personally for anyone. However, from what I have read and seen, it is believed that society is becoming more and more introverted. It is easier for a person to sit in front of their computer and interact with what is on their screen, than it is to go out in public and actually interact face to face with people. The question then becomes, why has this become more appealing?
For me, I do not do well in public, especially in big noisy crowds. There is a level of safety I feel by communicating with people on line, than face to face. On line if someone gets upset, I can simply unfriend them. I’ve tried deleting someone who is yelling at my face. It does not work. It is really easy for me to slip into the thinking that all this social networking is not real, it’s just a game and I get points every time someone replies to my post or clicks like.
These could be the same reasons for other people. They feel safer on line and their pleasure centers are being rewarded just as if they were playing a game. This could also explain why so many people get themselves in trouble. They simply forget there are real people on the other side of what they post.
Still, there are a lot of great things to social networking. It has given a lot of people a connection to the outside world, who physically cannot go outside. It is amazing to me that with a little searching, I can find people anywhere in the world to talk to. It truly opens up a person’s perspectives to learn about people in other corners of the world.
I really do like social networking. I love being able to talk with people that live around the corner from me or on the other side of the world. This blog allows me to talk with people and it blows me away to see people in South America, Europe, and Asia read my ramblings. Fifty years ago it took years even decades for a writer to reach people in other countries. That is powerful. Just as with any tool we must be careful with how we use it.
Posterous by Insane Pilosopo @ Deviantart.com
Internet by IVchan @ Deviantart.com
Second Life by Draic Freeman @ Deviantart.com
Information Superhighway by Stardriv @ Deviantart.com
World Wide by Enryh @ Deviantart.com